Heart Attack Video: John's Story

Dr. Nazair Azimi and team work quickly to save John's life.

Every minute counts during a heart attack. Go behind the scenes as Dr. Nazair Azimi and a team of caregivers work quickly to save John's life in Sharp Grossmont Hospital's highly advanced cardiac catheterization lab.

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Lisa, Jamul Feed Store Employee: It was a very, very hot day. You know, I just thought it was heat stroke. I thought, "You know what Lisa, you need to hurry up and cool this man off."

911: Copy that. 44-year-old male. Chest pain, moving some hay, got progressively worse.

Lisa: I was scared for his life.

Whitney Ireland, Paramedic: Soon as we got him on the monitor, we knew.

Valery Graham, Paramedic: Right here is the injury to the heart.

Dr. Nassir Azimi, Interventional Cardiologist: His EKG showed up on my phone. And so we can see simultaneously what's going on electrocardiographically.

Every second counts with a heart attack. Door to balloon time. Right? The minute the patient hits the door to the minute that the balloon is inflated, to try to keep that artery open.

Rick Bushore, RN, Cardiac Catherization Lab: The less time we take, the less damage there is to that heart muscle.

Valery: This device is a game changer, some patients only have minutes to live if they don't get treated.

Rick: He's in ventricular tachycardia right now, which means that his heart is beating so fast that it doesn't effectively pump. So we went from a pressure of a 140 systolic down to probably 50 or 60. At about that level there's really not enough blood pressure to support profusion to the brain. And if it goes on long enough, you'll see brain damage.

Nurse: I have a 275 by 30.

Male Voice: X-ray!

Dr. Azimi: The right artery had a clot and the circumflex marginal artery also had a clot in it.

Male Voice: Balloon's going in.

Rick: He'll insert a balloon in the blockage to open it up (Male Voice: Going up.) and then we'll have what we call reprofusion.

Male Voice: That's door to balloon.

Dr. Azimi: We sucked out the clot, we put a balloon, stents.

John, you're doing OK, buddy, your artery's already open.

Male Voice: Doing better, John? Pain starting to go away now?

Rick: The national standard for door to balloon time is 60 minutes. In John's case, we were able to do this in 21 minutes.

Dr. Azimi: So you clotted both, both major arteries. That's unusual. That's why you were having so much pain.

Male Voice: (unintelligible) Seal's in.

Dr. Azimi: We were able to open them both. You're a lucky guy.

Rick: This part of the vessel here was completely missing. This is what it's supposed to look like. It's beautiful. It's a beautiful thing.

John: I was afraid, I was afraid that this was my last day.

Donna Yap, Ecocardiographer: This is gonna show the doctor if you have any damage to the heart. So what happened?

John: I was lifting hay bales.

Right now I live on a ranch. The animals are so cool. It's very therapeutic, you know, you know I've really been getting into that. So, and they love me, too; I can tell. Because I have a long parade of them everywhere I go, they follow me like, you know, I feel like Noah. (laughs)

Dr. Azimi: Here's a guy 44-years-old, had a two-vessel heart attack, leaving with no damage to his heart, walking out two days later.

Any chest pains?

John: No, none.

Dr. Azimi: If I had a light switch, I'd turn it off, and then just remind you what could have happened. Because we don't always get that light switch turned back on, right?

John: Right, right.

I'm already gonna work on my diet. And I'm gonna work on my exercise, get these muscles going again. (laughs)

Lisa: I'm just glad that he has a second chance in life.

John: Hey, Danny. How you doing this morning, huh? There you go Adam, there you go. They missed me, they missed me. (laughs)

It was good to, it was good to see them again. I'm, I'm grateful for my life. It's good to be alive.

Rick: I know these people. These people are my neighbors. These are my friends. These are my family. These are the people in my community.

Seeing the effect of what you do on your neighbors makes it all worth it.

John: Come on guys, time to eat. It's OK, Jack. (laughs)